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Don't let greed, and phishers, get the better of you

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webwatch

At the risk of repetition, can I please repeat last week's urging to never, ever give your financial details or confirm your bank details to your bank over the Internet, or to re-register or reactivate your account in the same way. It won't be your bank, because no bank ever asks you to do these things online. Phishers, as the scamsters are known, can make themselves look very convincingly official and knowledgable about your affairs. Recently one UK bank was completely convinced that a phisher email had really come from its own offices. Phishers may even redirect you to your real bank's website - and certainly to its own facsimile of your own bank's website. So just say no.

I have just said no. More accurately, I have recently not replied to Mr Dean Brosseau, confidential financial consultant to Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the richest man in Russia and, according to old Dean, recently arrested for his involvement in politics, but not before stashing away lots of dosh in a European bank. Dean's credibility is bolstered by a link to an Englishlanguage report from Pravda. Nor have I replied to Lucky Day Lottery International, which sent news of my million-quid win due to a mix-up with which I should immediately take advantage. Ho hum. As in these, most financial scams are based on the victim's greed. The opportunity to make a lot of dosh quickly can be irresistible.

Most phishers are based outside the UK. If you've ever attempted to send urgent dosh to children on gap years in distant countries, you will know how hard it is to move even modest amounts of money abroad without fronting up personally to your local branch. So the second level of the phisher scam is to use spam to recruit innocents to their service - the inducements being easy money for acting as a UK agent to a business overseas. Sounds legit-ish.

It isn't. If a 'business' or investment scheme offers unbelievable returns, just say no. Especially on the Internet.

sutherland. lyall@btinternet. com

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